Don’t rock the boat!

I had never, ever, dared to ride the Ferris Wheel … until Friday.

My three-year-old niece, Katie, looked up at me with pleading eyes and whined, "Juwee, I want you to come with me."

Knowing I would need a calm person to sit in the carriage and maintain eye contact with me for the entire ride, my 18-year-old niece Crystal accompanied us.

My heart was pounding, my stomach was hurting and my hands were shaking … and that was before we climbed inside the square, covered seating area!

I do not like heights … especially when my feet cannot be planted firmly on the ground, when two little plastic doors appear as though they could never keep me safe and when the seat I’m sitting in suddenly comes to a stop at the very top of the Ferris Wheel.

Rats … I forgot to tell the guy manning the ride not to stop the wheel when we were on the very tip-top.

Most of the ride was spent staring into Crystal’s blue-green eyes … I was too afraid to divert any attention outside of our little carriage. My hands clung so tightly around the center pole that my fingers went white with blood loss.

When the ride finally ended, I climbed out of the carriage and thanked the polite Arnold’s Park worker. I told him I probably wouldn’t be back … that was enough excitement for one day.

Unfortunately, five of my nieces and nephews had other ideas!

I went on the bumper cars twice … the second time getting hit like a torpedo from the back. My spine jerked out of place and snapped back … only a temporary flash of pain … but that was enough bumper cars for the day!

The Tilt-A-Whirl has always been my favorite ride, but after the fourth go-around with the nephews I was so dizzy I couldn’t walk in a straight line to get to the exit gate. They laughed … and I realized I’m not as young as I used to be.

When it came to the log ride, Katie begged me to take her. Again, I caved.

This is another one of those rides involving heights … slowly climbing up on the belt, going around a few turns and then careening downhill at warp speed, only to get splashed by the water.

Well, I should have thought about asking Crystal along … it turns out I needed a calm person!

No sooner had Katie and I made it to the top of the ascent on the log ride when she got scared and tried to stand up in the log boat. I was already scared, but her little maneuver nearly sent me into hysterics! I shrieked a little too loudly and held onto her a little too forcefully … and when we reached the point where the log was ready to plummet to the bottom, well, the nephews said my scream of fear was heard around the entire park!

Oh … I’m too old for this!

But the boys hadn’t gone on the log ride with their Auntie, so back in line I went. (Katie wanted nothing more to do with the log ride, which was just fine with me!)

Anyway, the boys climbed in the front of the log and I climbed in the back. As we slowly made the ascent up the belt, Zach was looking back at our progress. I was looking at him … it was the height thing!

We got to the top, I pointed out to them where Katie tried to stand up in the boat, we went around a curve and, all of a sudden, the boys decided to rock the boat.

I yelled in a rather high-pitched voice to stop rocking and, like typical 8- and 9-year-old boys, they laughed at me!

They laughed even more when our log sped down the flume and hit the water below … it was a tidal wave and it crashed into me! My hair was drenched, I got water in my eyes, I was sputtering it from my mouth (reminder to self … don’t scream unless you want a mouth full of chlorine water) and my glasses could have used a good pair of windshield wipers! I don’t even want to talk about my clingy clothes!

That was the end of the log ride … but then I had to go back to the Ferris Wheel to try and dry off!

At least on the Ferris Wheel, Zach and Blake were in agreement when I said, "And don’t you dare rock this carriage!"

I think our day of fun at Arnold’s Park has, unfortunately, left me with a few more gray hairs. So much for a relaxing vacation day!

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